Review by TheLastAvatar05

Reviewed: 03/27/09

Provides closure for one character's story though causes several others to remain unanswered.

After playing Resident Evil 4 a few dozen times or so, gamers of the Resident Evil series were wondering what the future held for another main entry Resident Evil game. A lot of questions remained unanswered while new ones invertible arose thanks to Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 5 was soon announced and old school fans were extremely pleased that they would be controlling returning Resident Evil hero, Chris Redfield, though were quite surprised that he was going to be partnered with a new comer of the series, Sheva Alomar. Regardless, after playing Resident Evil 5, it is safe to say that the addition works well though there are many small issues to be addressed that plague this title.

Gameplay (9/10): Resident Evil 5 uses a more advanced system of what Resident Evil 4 used in terms of the overall gameplay feature. You expect the typical over the shoulder view as you move your character around, ability to freely aim at any part of the enemy with your weapons while watching them stumble in areas that you hit them at, and use melee combat along with the interaction with the overall environment against swarms of enemies, which, don't go down like dummies, without a fight. Perhaps the biggest new feature is the online and off line splint screen Co-Op mode that another player can join in and control Sheva as their partner, (Or vise versia) Playing in Cop-Op mode allows better strategy while playing together in the main storyline campaign, which, adds multiple replay value within 5. If you want to play offline, the AI will automatically take control of Sheva throughout the game. You could set features within the campaign mode to allow random users to "jump in or out" of your current level or invite friends from your PSN buddy list to Co-OP you at any time, which, is also a nice addition. Sheva's AI intelligence is more than welcomed in comparison of Ashley's constant nagging in Resident Evil 4, as Sheva can fight with any weapon you give her. (She appears more suited with a sniper rifle as her primary weapon), however she can get in your way at times in tense situations and tends to run her gun dry while not tactically conserving ammo.But if you constantly arm her well and look after her, she can be the best AI partner you could even depend on. (Saving your butt more than once on various levels), does wonders.

Health and Ammo is important as well due to the partner system causing you to conserve and distribute weapons and ammo carefully throughout certain levels. Like 4, enemies drop ammo and other items to refill your guns. However, since you have a partner, this process of conserving ammo for both may be somewhat difficult for beginner players. The health feature is an interesting concept in comparison of other Resident Evil games. When you take enough damage, both characters can enter a "dying" stage, which, blurs their overall movement and vision while also disallowing them to use any items on themselves until their partner saves them. Failure to do so can cause an game over and this can happen on several of the bosses depending on difficulty level. Gone is the overall inventory cache case in 4 and the reintroduction of a 9 by 9 grid for both characters. Real time action does still occur even when pulling the inventory menu up creating a sense of tension during certain moments. However, most of the enemies do not run as fast as Chris and Sheva, hence, you could easily find a quite spot to pull up the menu and reorganize items away from enemies. There is a problem of Sheva's inability to actually combine herbs when she picks them up as well as overcrowding the menu that forces you to either disregard other items to make room. Using the D Pad feature, you could hot swap up to four items just by tapping each pad quickly, which, is also very useful.

Finally, Resident Evil 5 uses a chapter selection, which, you could use to replay various chapters after completing them. This is extremely useful for farming items and more ammo for both characters Treasures return in Resident Evil 5, which, allow you to sell them for money for items and weapons. Weapons are plentiful for each category, (handguns, shotguns, machine guns, sub machine guns, rifles, and others), and each one of them handles accordingly to their design and function.

Storyline (8/10): Chris Redfield has joined a new organization called the Bio Terrorism Security Assessment Alliance or BSAA in order to battle the ever growing use of BOWS around the world after the fall of Umbrella and the Racoon City Incident. Along with new comer and stationed in Africa, Sheva Alomar, both characters are plunged into a possible BOW dealing with a mysterious character only known as Irving. However, various flashbacks reveal Chris's own personal life after the Mansion Incident along with his personal bitter rivalry with former renegade S.T.A.R.S. leader and Umbrella turncoat, Albert Wesker. With this, Chris and Sheva battle hords of infected enemies while trying to liberate the region of Kijuju from this disease while discovering that more sinister events are unfolding by not only the works of Albert Wesker, but his new accomplices, Excella Gionne, a family member of the respectable Tricell Pharmaceutical Company, and a figure known simple as "Bird Lady".

In terms of the actual storyline that Resident Evil 5 has, I felt that it was only used to close the arc of one of the biggest main character's story with a bang. Instead, we only get a small whimper due to various issues at hand, most notably, how the last few acts tends to fall apart from the climax. I felt that the conflict between Sheva and Chris was realistic and enjoyable to watch as they worked together for the first time. It was a sense of, "Veteran and Rookie" that was paired up within this storyline. The constant confrontation of Albert Wesker allowed me to think that this would end in an epic battle between the two characters due to their past history in previous games however in the end, it felt flat and uninspiring to actually play through. Excella Gionne was nothing more than a folder type of character that served no real purpose other than to irate the player with her screechy dramatic acting in various cut scenes. And Irving had potential to become a respectable villain within this game yet no further character development is given as well. I felt that the other than Wesker, both Excella Gionne and Irving served no real purpose within the storyline and sorely lacked any type of character development than what was given. A lot of character questions remained unanswered or just dropped without explanation.

* What happened with Wesker's intent of recreating Umbrella after Resident Evil 4?
* Where was Sherry Birkin and what happened to her?
* Were was Ada Wong and her role with Wesker and her employer during the events of Resident Evil 4?
* Where is the current whereabouts of the remaining S.T.A.R.S. members?

I was quite surprised that NONE of this was addressed despite the fact that Jun Takeuch clearly stated in one interview that the whereabouts of the remaining S.T.A.R.S. would be addressed and how Sherry Birkin will appear both in 5. Instead, we got nothing. Very disappointing. Other than that, each chapter is somewhat short and there's only 6 chapters in total with a current completion time of less than 20 hours.

Graphics (10/10): A huge high point within 5 and it deserves this score. Everything is beautifully detailed and textured. From the gravel on the ground when you move Chris and Sheva, to the chilling blood stains and disemboweled human remains of various villagers, it is truly a sight to witness. Chris and Sheva also look extremely detailed with visible sweat stains on their bodies due to the African heat. You could see the tiny strains and stitching on their BSAA patch on their uniform to their detailed weaponry of handguns, shotguns, machine guns, sub machine guns, and other type of items. Facial expressions look extremely realistic both ingame and cut scenes, which, I haven't seen, since Guns of The Patriots. The sight of enemies tumbling and stumbling after being hit in various locations on their body and the nice splash of brown goop that they turn into after dying is also pleasant to watch in detail. Each enemy (both large and small) looks different from one another and react realistically when their hit with blood spewing out; warrants the clear the M rating.

Sound (8/10): The sound within Resident Evil 5 is clear crisp during cut scenes and most of the cast of characters do their job well. Enemies shout realistic in their native tongue when their attacking you or when you hear the realistic sound of a shotgun blasting an enemies head with a single blast, everything feels natural and enjoyable to listen to. Sheva's voice commands within the game are limited online and off so depending on which mode you play on, you'll either hear more than two commands or just two commands throughout the entire game campaign. It's not her voice that's annoying, it's just how she responds to basic commands every single time that kind of gets on your nerves after awhile. You kind of wished that she had a more variety of commands to respond to. Same goes with Chris. The ingame cut scenes are well recorded though it does have it's cheesy lines that remain classic within the Resident Evil series. Overall, the sound within 5 remains solid with a few annoying issues.

Replay Value (9/10): Other than the returning Mercenaries, where you are forced to take various characters into stages while trying to pull of as many combos as possible for a total high score, you could also have unlock new costumes for both Chris and Sheva along with a new game difficulty mode and even play as Sheva instead of Chris. There is downloadable content with a new battle mode to play with though the release date has yet to be determined. You could also carry your ammo, weapons, and money, to a new round and do Co-OP in practically unlimited runs with interesting setups (knife only runs, handgun only runs, shotgun only runs, ect) In terms of overall replay value, I would say it's the same as 4, which, may disappoint some who were expecting more.
Closing Comments: Resident Evil 5 is a game that clearly shows what the direction of Resident Evil 4 could produce within the series that it differentiated from. The addition of Co-Op online and Split Screen adds a lot of replay value along with the ability to play as both characters. However, Resident Evil 5's storyline collapses completely in the last few acts after the climax, which, is disappointing. It felt that Jun Takeuch just looked at Resident Evil 4 and decided to scrap the questions asked with no explanation or reasoning within 5. He wanted to do his own thing and created a entirely new storyline that didn't really make sense in connection with 4. Other than that, I rather enjoyed Resident Evil 5 enormously and enjoyed playing through it with multiple runs. It is a game that's worth getting if your a fan of the series since Remake or when Resident Evil 4 came out.

Final Score: (9/10)

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Resident Evil 5 (US, 03/13/09)

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